September 19, 2016 – UK cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey has started issuing her particularly pawly-behaved cat clients with anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) after some of the mischievous moggies played up during grooming sessions and even resorted to spates of scratching.
Anita, who has been running her Notting Hill, London, cat consultancy for five years, introduced the ASBOs after suffering months of abuse from the fiendish felines. She told Pet News Today she has had to issue three ASBOs so far, all in connection with bad behaviour during grooming sessions. Restrictions imposed have included no catnip mice, no ‘Lick-E-Lix’ paste and other treats, and no head massages or chin rubs for a period of at least six months.
“None of the ASBO suggestions are ever followed through. It’s purely a joke. Of course, these cats are not better behaved, it’s why they received the ASBO in the first place. I have to groom them every few months and they hate me for it.”
Disturbingly, human staff who have receive ABSOs on behalf of their cat companions have found it ‘hilarious’, according to Anita who added that one even has her cat’s ASBO framed and hanging in her bedroom.
“The ASBOs are issued to my worst diva cats. They started as a joke and clients love them and like to frame them, almost like a badge of honour,” Anita said.
But on a more serious note, Anita, who who holds a work-based first class honours degree in cat behaviour and psychology, said she has observed an increasing trend in anti-social behaviour by cats, particularly during grooming sessions.
“Cat aggression during grooming is on the rise. This is because many cat owners are using the wrong grooming tools, therefore making their cat hate the process. Some cats have had a bad experience with a dog groomer, or another groomer, who may not understand a cat’s natural behaviour. Therefore the cat rears up and remembers the process is horrible.
“Some cats have also learnt that by hissing and making a fuss the owners will stop. The latter means the long-haired cat becomes terribly matted. My work is gentle and holistic and works only with what the cat can tolerate. More groomers should work this way to help the cats who really find the whole process daunting.”
She added that for those who find their cat has become aggressive, 99% of the time there is a reason for it.
“It is such a vast issue to deal with and really needs the owner to visit a vet first to check for any underlying medical issues that may be making the cat aggressive.
“If there are no medical concerns then a qualified behaviourist should be called in for a home visit. It’s usually always the fault of humans… for instance, playing with kittens with your hands may be fun at first, but when the kitten becomes an adult it has learnt that biting and scratching hands is a game. Some cats are aggressive because the environment hasn’t met their needs and they act out of frustration, some are stressed about other companion cats… the list could go on. The first port of call, once a vet has referred the cat to a behaviourist, is to diagnose the reason for the aggression correctly. Only then can a plan of action be put together.
“They get away with murder and we just let them do it. I blame it on their lovely large eyes. They somehow hypnotise us into looking the other way!”
If you are a cat owner wanting more information, or a vet seeking a referral to Anita, visit www.catbehaviourist.com.
ASBOs are civil orders to protect the public from behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, and were introduced by the UK government, for humans, in 1998.
Main photo: Anita with Tatty.